What’s a hero? A person admired for courage. The chief male character in a book or movie. A person of superhuman qualities. Another name for a submarine sandwich.
I think we can agree, a hero’s chief quality is courage—the willingness to face danger, to risk one’s safety to rescue or protect others. This is true about our men and women in service, whether it be military, police, fire, or even ski patrol. These are the heroes that live among us. They routinely face danger to protect others, and they deserve our praise, thanks, and respect.
But what makes romance novel hero? Courage, yes. There will be a moment in every romance tale when our hero makes a grand sacrifice. But courage isn’t the only thing it takes to be a romance hero. There’s one more key ingredient to make a truly unforgettable romance hero: The Heroic Flaw. Every tall, handsome, brave, muscled, dashing, charming, rakish, roguish hero has a great big flaw—an imperfection, an inadequacy, a weakness, a dark secret, a gaping hole at the core of him that everyone but he can see and only our heroine can fill. And oddly, that flaw, more than his crystal blue eyes, gleaming black curls, or six-pack abs, is what makes him sexy as hell.
My favorite is the tortured soul—the hero who believes he has committed a terrible sin, something that can never be undone. And no matter how he tries, he feels he can never atone for that long-ago transgression. I don’t know why, but I love those guys. And no one can “fix” them. Not even our heroine. She must let him find his own way out of his darkness. This was an important lesson I learned from romance novels. You can fix your man a submarine sandwich, but you can’t “fix” him. Change comes from within.
What is your favorite heroic flaw?
Don’t miss Tying the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey, out now!
At age eleven, Alex Sinclair pledges an oath to the Duke of Chatham promising to serve and protect his illegitimate daughter, Lucy FitzHarris. Nine years later, the duke unexpectedly takes Alex up on his vow, offering the future Laird of Balforss his daughter’s hand in marriage.
Now a man, hotheaded Alex has difficulty convincing Lucy—who would rather starve to death than marry a vulgar Scot—to go through with the arranged marriage. Once Lucy arrives in Scotland, she cannot resist the magic of Balforss or the allure of her handsome Highland warrior. But when Alex seemingly betrays Lucy right before their wedding, she is tricked into running away. Alex must rein in his temper to rescue his lady from unforeseen danger and Lucy must swallow her pride if she hopes to wed the Highlander she has come to love.
Jennifer Trethewey is an actor-turned-writer who has moved her performances from the stage to the page. In 2013 she traveled to Scotland for the first time, where she instantly fell for the language, humor, intense sense of pride, and breathtaking landscape. Her love for Scotland was translated into her first series of historical romance novels, the Highlanders of Balforss. The sexy, adventurous first book of the series, TYING THE SCOT, is set to be released in November 2017. Trethewey’s primary experience in bringing the imaginary to life was working for one of the oldest women’s theaters in the nation, where she was the co-founder and co-artistic director. Today she continues to act, but writes contemporary and historical fiction full-time. Her other loves include dogs, movies, music and good wine. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband.
I love a tortured soul hero. And the moment when he lets a woman in to help him find the light of life.